The recent boom in travel and tourism industry has opened up many lucrative job opportunities in this field and one among them is the career as a travel / tour / tourist guide. Travel / Tour guides are an essential part of the tourism industry and play a vital role in satisfying the tourists visiting a region. Tour guides serve as a link between the visitor and an area and its people. They accompany travelers who travel individually or in groups, on sightseeing, educational or other tours and give detailed information on the various monuments and artifacts and about the area's traditions and heritage. Travel guiding is a lucrative and apt career for those who are fond of people, places and things and have a passion for history and culture. One can turn this passion into a fruitful career by becoming a travel/ tour guide. To outshine as a tour guide, excellent interpersonal and communication skills and a broad knowledge of the local history is very much desired. They must also have exhaustive knowledge of a place with respect to its culture, heritage, art, architecture, people, lifestyles etc. The highly remunerative and challenging profession of a tourist guide is endowed with immense potential. The major task of a tourist guide is to make each and every trip worthwhile, pleasant and memorable for the visitors. An efficient tourist guide can make any place look attractive, beautiful and captivating to the tourists by upholding the cultural traditions and heritage of the place along with social customs and even local superstitions and legends. A tourist guide must make sure that the visitors itineraries are met and that visitors are being informed in an entertaining and responsible manner about the location they are touring. They must also ensure the safety of the visitors, help them overcome cultural shocks while getting used to places and its people. Tourist guides in India are officially approved as Regional, State and Local Guides. At the local level, the municipal body licenses guides for a particular site/ city. State tourism Departments or their Tourism Development Boards grants license to State Level Guides. These guides can operate within the precincts of a given state. Regional level tourist guides are licensed by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and gets a two year renewable license endorsed for life by the Archeological Survey of India. These guides can operate on inter-state circuits but are restricted to their regions. To get a license to operate in a particular region, the guides must get training and have to pass an examination. One can explore the right career opportunities available in the travel and tour sector by taking a good tour guide training course. In addition, one can learn a couple of additional languages, travel extensively, enrich one's reading, keep meeting people and enjoy working with them. With the right aptitude and training, one can definitely become an excellent tour guide. Eligibility Government of India conducts training for tour guides and upon course completion, the guide is certified and given a license. Tourist guide licenses are issued both at the state and central government level by the respective tourism departments after taking a test. Many of the states in India have made registration of tourist guides mandatory. Ministry of Tourism provides licenses to the Regional Level tourist guides and also organizes Regional Level Guide Training Programme (RLGTP). These programmes are conducted through the Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) or their chapters, or other recognized institutes in coordination with the concerned Regional Director and India tourism offices located in that region. Held once in two years, this course cover tourist aspects of the States within the region; impart fair knowledge of social, political and economic policies etc. The course also covers the expectations, requirements and procedures involved in tour directing and guiding, as well as techniques for group management, creating and delivering interesting narration, and handling challenges that arise. Prerequisite - Fluency in English language is a must for those joining guide training course. Graduates in any discipline from a recognized University OR three year degree holders in tourism/ Hospitality from a recognized University/ Institute OR Diploma in Archaeology from the Institute of Archaeology under the Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi or from any other recognized Institution/ University are eligible for applying to the course. Preference would be given to candidates having knowledge and fluency in a non-English foreign language. The minimum age for joining the course is 20 years. The candidates are admitted to the course on the basis of a written test comprising of : i) Knowledge of monuments/ tourism destinations around the area ii) Questions on history iii) General Knowledge Those who are scoring at least a minimum of 50 percent marks in written test will be selected for the training programme. Duration : The guide training course will be for a period of 16 weeks including theoretical and practical training divided into two parts. Part one is 6 week classroom training followed by 10 week field work which includes a tour of one week. On completion of the training course, a written examination and a viva voce test would be held by Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management (IITTM) on behalf of the Ministry of Tourism. Candidates clearing both the tests, will be issued a Tourist guide license by the Regional India tourism Office, Government of India which will be valid only for a period of 3 years. This license should be renewed every three years and for that guides would be required to pass a refresher course. It is mandatory for licensed guides to attend the refresher course which is conducted by IITTM, initially once in three years and subsequently after every five years. Scholars, linguists and proven experts from the fields of Indian history, architecture and culture who are interested in tour guide profession can work as part time guides. Since there is a shortage of guides speaking languages like Chinese, Russian, Korean, Thai, Arabic, Hungarian, Polish, Hebrew, etc., linguists with specialised training or expertise in these languages can become part time guides. But before certified as guides, they must have to undergo an abridged special training of 8 weeks duration. Personal Attributes - The first and the foremost thing needed for a tour guide is an extensive knowledge of the tourist destinations, along with its local history, culture, myths, legends, route, artifacts, amenities etc. A tourist guide should be of a pleasing personality with excellent oratory and communication skills. Knowledge of any foreign language other than English will be an added advantage in this field. He/ she should be a voracious reader, a thorough researcher and always be updated with the knowledge of available facilities and services in the field. A tour guide need to be friendly, polite, outgoing, helpful, responsible, trustworthy and should be able to put people at ease. They should possess leadership qualities, public speaking and presentation skills, problem solving ability, organisational and time management skills, knowledge of safety procedures and relevant laws, crisis and risk management skills etc. A good guide should be curious about the surroundings and must have a craving to learn new things. A tour guide should be physically fit as they may need to do lot of physical activities like lifting heavy luggage of the tourists and so on. While traveling with a group of elderly people and small children, a good knowledge of first aid practices will be particularly essential. Overall he/she should always remain customer focused.